The Bloodline Feud: The Family Trade and The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes) Paperback – 11 Apr 2013
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Miriam knows there’s no smoke without fire. And she’s about to get burnt . . .
The Family Trade and The Hidden Family - The first two installments of the Merchant Princes series combined in one volume. Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks shes hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, she's not only fired, but receives death threats. Thats just the beginning. To distract her furious daughter, Miriams adopted mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline. In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk on the other side of our reality. Here, her true family runs a criminal empire and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans. A marvellous romp through this world and others, told by a master of the imaginative thrill-ride Karl Schroeder, 'A festival of ideas in action, fast moving and often very funny Locus, This is a rollicking, pacy read' Interzone --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Its been done in the past but not with such an attention to detail or insight into the reality of human nature.
The subtopics are crime families/money laundering/economic theory. Might appear a bit dry to some but is kept lively with frequent assassination attempts and machiavellian politics.
Reporter Miriam is fired when her investigation leads her into the shady territory of corporate money laundering. Unfortunately one of the companies involved in the laundering owns her paper. When fired she visits her adoptive mother who gives her a shoebox of her birth mothers belongings. The box contains an amulet that when looked at ports her into an alternate world. That world is ostensibly medieval - but she is suprised when guards with machine guns try and kill her.
Her investigative instinct woken up by this encorages her to dig further and she soon falls int to the hands of a family using the ability to rule the medieval world. Their power is based largely on smuggling narcotics and importing technology into the medieval world to consolidate their power. Miriam is soon embroiled in the power struggles of 'the Clan' as they style themselves.
This collects works originally published as two books into one volume. It appears that the intention was originally for the series to be collected into works of this length. I think it shows - as both books together feel like a single story with a logical conclusion point.
The story is fairly straightforward as Stross goes. None of the dark humor of the LAundry files - or the whacky SF of his other workds. The only fantastic element is the unexplained world walking ability. Its a good read, with lively characters and reads as a cross between a crime thriller and a medieval period piece.
The series is essentially a portal fantasy and this first book is all setup.
We meet notional central character Miriam just as she accidentally teleports to a medieval version of north America, which turns out to be her original homeworld. She discovers she's one of the few inhabitants with the mutant ability to "world-walk", on which the ruling merchant class have built an elaborate dark-net style network to smuggle illegal drugs and arms around "our" world.
This first new world has a complex and not entirely coherent class and honour system. Women who can breed the ability to world-walk are in some ways regarded as property, which is offered as the reason Miriam was spirited away as a child and raised in "our" USA. These are the roots of the none-more-soap-opera complications around Miriam's love life and the alliances and betrayals involving her mother and her newly discovered uncle and grandmother.
There's some foggy material about a "lost clan" of world-walkers, which leads Miriam to stumble into a second parallel version of North America. This Victorian steampunk setting sets Miriam free of her cod-medieval chains of servitude, and she starts to build a life as a progressive modern business-woman.
Ultimately the "real" world is the setting everyone wants to escape to, mainly because it's the one that lets the writer indulge a Matrix-style fetish for vast amounts of shiny guns and reuse his Laundry series signature of cod-military CODENAMES IN CAPS.Read more ›
Please note that this book is actually softcover and is only about 600 pages. (That is to say, you can actually read it in bed rather than with a hoist.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Solid run of the mill sci-fi - decent "airport thriller level" plot twists and turns. Good enough that I bought all the series, not so great that I'd necessarily re-read... Read morePublished 7 months ago by JL
Good story, gets you involve and into the characters, looking forward to the whole seriesPublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have read most of Charles Stross work, my favourite being his Laundry Series. This consolidated version of the Merchant Princes does not disappoint. Read morePublished 10 months ago by sepeh
Dross! You'd be better off reading a real economics book. I'd recommend "Reinventing the Bazaar".Published 12 months ago by Twist Barbie
I love Stross. But not this book. Anything else by him, especially his Eschaton series, is great. But this is flat.Published 16 months ago by Iksrejam
Good concepts, possible mistakes avoided. It's obvious the author not only writes but can think as well. Reminded me of a good TV show. Read morePublished on 22 April 2014 by Balazs Goldschmidt
Pretty much agree with the other 5 star reviews
One of the best series I've read for years ( 3 hours a day on the trains )
suxch a good story line but a bit more depth would be great.....so much more could be written.....but its almost like a race to get to the end.... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2014 by Amazon Customer